THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FROM ORTHODOXINTRO.ORG, A NEW WEBSITE FROM ANCIENT FAITH MINISTRIES TO HELP PROVIDE BASIC INFORMATION TO NEWCOMERS ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN. IT'S A GREAT SITE TO SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS WHO MAY HAVE SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHURCH:
A DAY / WEEK / YEAR IN THE LIFE OF AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN
Orthodox Christianity is lived concretely in the rhythms of daily life. Every part of life is included. Following are some specifics, but keep in mind that what a particular Orthodox Christian does is under the guidance of the local pastor and in keeping with the practice of the parish community.
Each day, the Christian will:
- say morning and evening prayers
- pray throughout the day, before meals, before tasks, etc.
- take active care of body, mind, and soul, including sleep, food, exercise, work, & rest.
- put active effort into relationships, both within the church community and outside.
- read the Bible & the writings of the saints
- watch for and attend to the needs of the world that invite action, whether direct love or prayer, and take time to listen
- maintain a daily prayer list (family, friends, co-workers, etc.)
- live a moral life
Each week, the Christian will:
- worship at the Divine Liturgy (and arrive when the service begins)
- welcome visitors to the parish, help them follow the worship of the Church, etc.
- fast Wednesday & Friday, and Sunday morning.
- worship at the Church at any weekday services, attend the parish Bible Study, and serve at the outreach efforts of the church community
- invite parish friends to share in meals, and maintain friendships with them.
- support the church with financial gifts, volunteer hours, and ongoing prayer
- offer assistance to those in the church who need help, whether the elderly, young mothers, or others
Each year, the Christian will:
- observe the great feasts of the Church, especially those of the Lord’s birth, his baptism, and his resurrection, and the other celebrations of the life and ministry of the Lord. This means both worshipping in the Church, and setting these days apart from the rest of the time
- keep the great fasts of the Church: Great Lent before the Resurrection, the Nativity Fast before the Lord’s birth, as well as the June fast before the feast of the Apostles and the August fast before the Dormition of the Mother of God.
Occasionally, the Christian may:
- take time for spiritual retreat, whether a pilgrimage to a monastery, or to another parish for a feast
- purchase or prepare the bread of the church, bringing it and the wine as an offering to God
Participation in the sacraments (baptism, chrismation, communion, confession, holy unction, marriage) is normal and central to the Orthodox Christian life. Their application and frequency are determined by the local pastor.
--Thank to Fr. Vincent from St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church for organizing this page of information.